Endowed Lectures

Thanks to the generosity of alumni, parents, and friends, as well as foundations and corporations, Wesleyan offers endowed lectures each year on and off campus. Wesleyan is proud to host the following lectures:

John W. Baird Lecture

Established in honor of John W. Baird ’38, longtime volunteer and former member of Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees, the lecture is endowed by gifts from alumni. The annual lecture features a faculty member or alumni speaker and is held in Chicago.

Raymond E. Baldwin Lecture

The lecture is named in honor of Raymond E. Baldwin ’16, the only person to have held Connecticut’s three highest public offices – governor, U.S. Senator, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The Baldwin Fellows Program, endowed by the Middlesex Mutual Assurance Company, is intended to bring to the Wesleyan campus nationally and internationally known figures in public affairs for formal and informal exchanges with students and faculty.

Hugo L. Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression

The lecture is named in honor of U. S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black. The series is designed to bring to the Wesleyan campus distinguished public figures and scholars with experience and expertise in matters related to the First Amendment and freedom of expression. This lecture, which is endowed by Leonard S. Halpert ’44, is offered annually.

Philip B. Brown Lecture

Established by the Wesleyan Club of Washington, D.C. in honor of Philip B. Brown ’44, longtime volunteer, former chair of Wesleyan Club of Washington, and former member of the Board of Trustees, the lecture is endowed by gifts from the family of Philip B. Brown and alumni. The annual lecture features a faculty member or alumni speaker and is held in Washington, D.C.

Raymond K. Denworth Lecture

Established in memory of Raymond K. Denworth ’54, longtime volunteer and former chair of the Board of Trustees, the lecture is endowed by gifts from alumni. The annual lecture features a faculty member or an outstanding citizen of Philadelphia and is held in Philadelphia.

Philip P. Hallie Memorial Lecture

Endowed by David Rhodes ’68, The Philip P. Hallie Memorial Lecture was established in 1997 by the College of Letters in memory of Philip P. Hallie, who taught in Wesleyan’s College of Letters and Department of Philosophy for 24 years. Professor Hallie inspired generations of students with his morally urgent intelligence. In his later years, his scholarship focused on understanding good and evil, and his best-known and enduring book was Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed, the story of a French Huguenot village that saved the lives of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust. The book epitomized his conviction that gallant rare goodness should be recognized in mankindís terrible and repetitive history; moreover that such deeds should be told about memorably and pondered, because they are crucial in our ceaseless human struggle to be decent. Philip P. Hallie lecturers have included Bill Blakemore ’65, Ethan Bronner ’76, Joseph Fins ’82, Steven Greenhouse ’73, Mark Sargent ’73, John Compton, Jean Bethke Elshtein, Philip Gourevitch, and Martha Nussbaum.

Joan Jakobson Visiting Writer

Endowed by John Jakobson ’52, P’05 in honor of Joan Jakobson P’05, this program brings distinguished writers to campus to discuss their work and to talk informally with students about writing. Previous speakers include Pulitzer Prize winners Anna Quindlen and Margo Jefferson and National Book Award winners Julia Glass and Lily Tuck.

Peter Anthony Leermakers Symposium

Established by Professor of Chemistry Max Tishler in the memory of former chemistry professor, Peter Leermakers, who died in 1971, the symposium is an annual one day meeting held in early May which focuses on a single topic of current interest in chemistry. The symposium is supported by the Leermakers Endowment.

Andrew W. Mellon Lecture in Ethics, Politics and Society

The lecture is funded by an endowment grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in honor of the 10th anniversary of the presidency of Douglas J. Bennet. The grant is designed to support a program designed to engage students and faculty in serious discussion of timely ethical, political, and social issues.

Fred B. Millett Visiting Writer

The annual Millett Fellowship was endowed by a group of alumni in honor of Fred B. Millett. Professor Millett, a beloved teacher and a strong defender of free speech during the McCarthy era, joined the Wesleyan English Department in 1939 and retired as the Olin Professor of English and Director of the Honors College in 1958. The purpose of the endowment, which is administered by the English Department and the Wesleyan Writing Programs, is to bring a prominent writer to Wesleyan every year for a public reading, a celebratory dinner with faculty, students, and alumni, and one or more class visits and small group discussions. Some recent Millett Fellows are poets Adrienne Rich, Kamau Brathwaite, Li-Young Lee, and John Ashbery, short story writer Grace Paley, dramatist and performance artist Danny Hoch, and essayist Adam Gopnik.

Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns

Endowed by James Shasha ’50, P’82, the Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns provides an opportunity to explore issues of global concern in a small seminar environment. The annual seminar engages alumni, parents, faculty, and students in lively intellectual exchange and supports the commitment to lifelong learning for the Wesleyan community. The 3-day seminar brings keynote speakers of international renown to campus and offers in-depth exploration of significant issues.

Edward W. Snowdon Lectures

The primary purpose of the Snowdon Lectures Fund is to expand, enrich and enliven intellectual exchange among the various members of the Wesleyan community by bringing internationally renowned and public leaders to campus. Snowdon-funded events challenge participants to think in new ways and foster the intellectual evolution of the academic community. Funds are made available by gifts from Edward W. Snowdon ’33 and the Snowdon family.

Annie Sonnenblick Lecture

Named in honor of the late Annie Sonnenblick '80, who loved literature and the arts, this lecture series was established by her parents, Dr. Edmnund H. Sonnenblick ’54, P’80, P’84 and Linda Sonnenblick P’80, P’84, and her sisters, Dr. Emily Sonnenblick P’10 and Charlotte Sonnenblick Van Doren ’84. Among the many distinguished Sonnenblick lecturers have been Norman Mailer, Henry Lewis Gates, Jr., Eric Schlosser, George Packer, and Ian Baruma.

Sturm Lecture

Named for Kenneth Sturm ’40 and endowed by his sister, Ruth Sturm, the annual lecture brings a renowned astronomer to campus for a public lecture and interaction with students and faculty.